The Government has announced it is providing councils with a further £100m to help repair potholes; a day after an FOI suggested local authorities have spent more than £43m dealing with pothole-related compensation claims over the past five years.
The addition funding, which follows the recent spell of wintery weather, is expected to help repair almost two million potholes – and help protect the roads from future severe weather.
The funding adds to the £75m already given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year, as well as £46m announced just before Christmas.
Chris Grayling, transport secretary, said: “People rely on good roads to get to work and to see friends or family.
“We have seen an unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather which has caused damage to our local roads.
“We are giving councils even more funding to help repair their roads so all road users can enjoy their journeys without having to dodge potholes.”
On Sunday (25 March), Cycling UK published the findings of a FOI request, which suggests local authorities have spent at least £43.3m dealing with compensation claims and legal costs due to potholes over the last five years.
This figure is equivalent to 17% of the Government’s five-year, £250m Pothole Action Fund announced in April 2015.
Cycling UK, which runs the pothole reporting webtool and app Fill That Hole, says the FOI responses show that 670 cyclists and 30,893 drivers had their claims accepted.
Motorists received on average £841.26 per successful claim, while cyclists received on average £10,963.15 per successful claim.
Sam Jones, Cycling UK’s senior campaigns officer said: “Cycling UK’s research reveals only a glimpse of pothole Britain’s human cost.
“It’s clear more people are being killed and seriously injured while out cycling each year due to years of persistent under investment in our rotting local road networks.
“The Government should concentrate on fixing the roads we have first before building new ones. Councils need provide enough funding to adopt long-term plans for roads maintenance, rather than pursuing a policy of patching up streets only as they become dangerous.
“With the Government looking to encourage more and safer cycling, then the UK’s road surfaces need to be safe enough for people to cycle on.”
The results of an annual survey, published earlier this month, identified more than 24,400 miles of roads across England and Wales that are in need of ‘essential maintenance’ in the next year.
The 2018 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey also estimates that the ‘one-time catch-up cost’ to get roads in England and Wales back into reasonable condition now stands at £9.31bn.